September 16, 2004

Don't Stand So Close to Me

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My goal while interviewing people for this column was twofold. First, discover musical interests on campus. Second, invent a fictitious band, then find someone who will say, “Oh yeah, those guys are awesome.”

My first interview is this guy jamming to his headphones in the Arts Quad. I make him take the headphones off, and he starts talking: “Right now I’m listening to the new Talking Heads live double-disc. It’s got a lot of songs from Remain In Light.” He pulls out his old-school 10 GB iPod and taps the screen. “I’ve been listening to a lot of Les Savy Fav lately, and Q and Not U.” I ask him if he likes The Leatherettes, the fictitious band I made up. “No, I’ve never heard of them.” My plan fails; I need a better band name.

I spot three kids hanging out by the Andrew White statue. I ask them if they like The Leatherettes, and they look at me like I’m an idiot: “Who are they? I’ve never heard of them.” Obviously, these people need more conformity to fall into my trap. I ask one of them about the pin on his messenger bag, which says “A Quality Future For All –Encouraging Less Children.” He explains that he’s “all about population control, but not China’s thing ’cause that’s inhumane. Forced abortions are not very rock and roll.” Right on. I ask him for the message he would give to a pregnant woman: “Tread lightly on the earth.”

The population control guy then talks about his musical interests: “I like the Police. Love Zenyatta Mandatta.” Isn’t that the one with “Don’t Stand So Close To Me?” “Yeah. I love that song. Hey, am I gonna come off as a creepy population dude in this article? I mean, I’m laid back, but even Ted Bundy was relaxed.” Then the woman next to him chimes in: “Yeah, Ted Bundy was relaxed and cute. You know, he was interested in college women with brown hair. My mom went to U Dub [University of Washington] with him.” Creepy.

The last guy I interview has dreadlocks and a tight faux-vintage t-shirt. I ask him if he likes The Leatherettes. He tells me that, when it comes to music, he likes everything except for country, which he can “still appreciate.” Then he asks me if I’m going to quote him. I say, “probably not. Everybody likes everything. Did you want me to quote you?” He says yes. I ask him why, and he says, “Because I’m running for student assembly. I’m class of ’08, living in Jameson. My name’s Gilbert Frances.” So take note, class of ’08. Vote for Gilbert Francis. He likes everything.

Archived article by Will Lanier
Red Letter Daze Staff Writer